THE general council of CITU which met in Kozhikode from March 23-26, gave the clarion call to the working class of the country to participate in huge numbers in the rally in the national capital Delhi on September 5, to highlight its demands. The general council expressed its great happiness that the two major countrywide organisations of the peasants and agricultural workers, the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) and the All India Agricultural Workers’ Union (AIAWU) agreed to join the rally. Thus for the first time largest section of the toiling people – industrial workers from the organised and unorganised sectors from the urban and rural areas, scheme workers and peasants and agricultural workers will jointly march in the national capital for the first time voicing their demands.
349 members of the general council including 53 women from 22 states in the country attended the general council in addition to 14 invitees from the fraternal trade union organisations and 12 special invitees from different states.
The CITU general council meeting started with hoisting of the CITU flag in the morning on March 23 by Hemalata, president of CITU. Floral tributes were paid at the martyrs’ column by Hemalata and Tapan Sen, general secretary of CITU, followed by all the office bearers and general council members. The photo of Bhagat Singh, who was martyred along with his comrades-in-arms Sukh Dev and Rajguru, on the same day in 1931, was garlanded by Tapan Sen, Hemalata and others.
Elamaram Kareem, national secretary of CITU and chairman of the reception committee welcomed the general council members to the historical city of Kozhikode, which had the great legacy of anti-colonial and working class struggles. The city was a hub of activity of legendary leaders like P Krishna Pillai, EMS Namboodiripad and AK Gopalan. The reception committee organised a series of programmes including seminars on various subjects, family get together, general body meetings etc on the occasion of the CITU general council meeting in the city. The expenditure for the meeting was met exclusively with the contributions from the members of CITU in the district.
Hemalata presided over the meeting. In the inaugural session, the general council unanimously passed two important resolutions – one condemning the barbaric attacks including burning and vandalising of offices, physical attacks, extortion, forceful occupying of offices of CITU and other Left oriented organisations by the BJP; attacks on the cadres and supporters of the Left parties and CITU in Tripura. It extended solidarity to the Left and CITU cadres and expressed hope that they will be able to create confidence among the people to resist these attacks soon.
The general council also congratulated the working class of Kerala and all the 16 trade unions who have jointly decided to go on a state wide strike against the decision of the BJP led government at the centre to introduce Fixed Term Employment in all sectors through a notification, despite the strong opposition expressed by all the central trade unions to an earlier attempt towards this. It called upon all its state committees to hold demonstrations and rallies all over the country, in support of the joint strike in Kerala.
The general council had a detailed discussion on the existing political and economic situation in the country and the conditions of the working class and other sections of the toiling people, on the basis of the report placed by Tapan Sen. It has decided to intensify independent and joint struggles, involve all sections of the working people in these struggles and expose the anti-worker, anti-people and anti-national character of the neoliberal policies and the political parties pursuing these policies despite strong resistance from the workers and others. The general council of CITU decided that neoliberalism, communalism and authoritarianism, the three major features of the BJP led Modi government have to be fought unitedly by the working class at the same time as they are interlinked. As part of these efforts, the general council called upon all its state committees to:
- Play an active role in the effective implementation of the call of the Jan Ekta Jan Adhikar Andolan (JEJAA) to hold demonstrations all over the country on May 23, on the eve of the BJP led Modi government completing its four years in office. It urged upon them to expose the failures of the Modi government with the slogan ‘Modi Sarkar ka Char Sal - Phol Khol: Hall Bol’ through a week long wide campaign before that day
- Participate in the district level court arrest programme called by the AIKS on August 9, on the occasion of the ‘Quit India Day’. All the state committees and affiliated unions of CITU were called upon to mobilise workers in large numbers in the court arrest programme highlighting their own specific demands.
- On August 14, workers across the country will participate in the night long ‘Samoohik Jagaran’ programme to focus on their demands and expose the failure of the ruling classes till today in implementing the vision of our freedom fighters of a self reliant, progressive and advanced country free of poverty, hunger, illiteracy etc
- In August, CITU will conduct five regional jathas to cover the entire country; in addition, state level jathas will be organised in all states to cover all the district headquarters and blocks.
- This will culminate in a massive mobilisation of not less than two lakh workers in Delhi on September 5. These workers will be joined by thousands of peasants and agricultural workers
The CITU general council also discussed the draft of the updated document on organisation placed by Tapan Sen and adopted it unanimously. Hemalata presented the proposal for future organisational and movemental tasks along with a detailed plan for their effective implementation. This too was unanimously adopted.
The plan chalked out by the CITU general council combined both organisational and movemental tasks. The updated document on organisation will be translated into local languages and discussed in the state level workshops. The state committees will prepare their own document on organisation suitable to their states but in line with the document adopted in the general council. The updated document on organisation will be taken to all members of the CITU committees up to the lowest level to facilitate its effective implementation. The state level workshops will also concretely plan the implementation of the CITU slogan of ‘Reach the unreached’ and ‘link issues with policies and expose politics behind the policies’ utilising the campaign. The number of workers to be approached, methods of campaign etc will also be finalised in the workshops. It was decided to undertake this type of exercise in all state level unions and also at the district level.
The 12-point charter of demands of the joint trade union movement, the 10 points adopted by the CITU secretariat will be highlighted during the campaign. In addition, the issues of all sections of the toiling people – employment, housing, education, health, social justice, women’s empowerment, agrarian distress etc will be highlighted. The campaign will also highlight concrete alternatives on all these issues, explaining to the people how it is possible to achieve their demands with the existing resources, if there is political will.
The general council of CITU passed unanimous resolutions supporting the 3 days’ strike by the Regional Rural Bank employees, demanding the government of India to appeal against the recent Supreme Court judgement on SC/ST Act, on the IT/ITES employees, on Palestine and on Rohingyas issue.
Hemalata concluded the meeting of the general council expressing confidence that by implementing the decisions this general council meeting will turn into a historic one in the annals of not only the CITU but of the trade union movement of the country. She thanked the Kerala state committee of CITU and the working class of Kerala for hosting the general council meeting and making excellent arrangements for its success.
AK Ramesh proposed the vote of thanks on behalf of the reception committee. A massive public meeting was held in the evening of March 26 on the sea beach. Large number of women workers participated in the meeting which was presided by TP Ramakrishnan, minister for Labour in the LDF government of Kerala. Pinarayi Vijayan, chief minister of Kerala, Tapan Sen, Hemalata, AK Padmanabhan, Anathalavottam Anandan, president of Kerala state committee of CITU, addressed the gathering.
The general council meeting as well as the huge participation of the working class and the speech of the chief minister of Kerala created great enthusiasm and confidence among the participants.
Resolution in Support of the Strike by Trade Unions in Kerala
THIS general council of CITU, being held at Kozhikode, Kerala on March 23-26, congratulates the working people of Kerala and its leadership – the state units of central trade unions and state unions INTUC, AITUC, HMS, CITU, UTUC, AIUTUC, TUCC, SEWA, STU, HMPK, TUCI, AKTU, KTUC, KTUC(J), KTUC(M), INLC – for the bold and timely response they have shown by giving one day statewide strike on April 2, against the draconian notification of the government of India, replacing permanent employment with term based employment and extending the fixed term employment to all establishments, thereby enslaving the workers and throwing them to the mercy of the corporates, permanency of the job is thereby given a good bye. This move which is a part of the ongoing implementation of the neoliberal policies that caters to the needs of the big corporates, has to be fought tooth and nail and the decision of the working men and women of the Kerala state would necessarily enthuse the entire Indian people who are in militant struggle against the anti-people policies of the government of India.
This general council calls upon all affiliates, other fraternal organisations and CITU state committees to organise protest demonstrations in solidarity with this strike action.